May 09, 2021
Michael D. Wilson
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A paradigm shift in business functions has led to several innovations in HR processes and operations in 2020. Use these five practical ideas for HR process improvement and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your remote workforce.
HR processes are the tasks and activities carried out by a business to manage and improve its employee workforce. The year 2020 completely transformed the way employees operated, putting businesses in dire need of transforming their HR processes.
As workforces went remote, we saw a massive shift in the priorities of HR operations - they moved from improving employee productivity and performance to realigning HR processes, along with every other business process, to remote work.
Businesses struggled to change their existing workflows and systems to meet the demands of remote work. And soon, everyone started catching-up to the new way of business operations - either by looking at what others were doing or by reinventing their methods.
Now that businesses have adapted to the 'new normal' (the most overused terms in 2020), HR priorities are shifting back to what they were. Gartner suggests that the number one priority for HR leaders in 2021 is to build critical skills and competencies.
The priority makes complete sense because if 2020 has taught businesses anything, it is that in today’s dynamic conditions, traditional methods of upskilling the workforce do not stand a chance.
With this in mind, we have curated a list of five ideas for HR process improvement. These will help you align your HR systems and operations to your business priorities and goals.
According to Forrester's recent predictions, remote work will continue in 2021, with a lasting 300% increase over pre-COVID-19 levels. While HR leaders have coped with the sudden change in process operations, it is now time to optimize them according to the new normal.
Use these five practical ideas for HR process improvement to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of your HR functions in 2021.
Following up with employees and sending out reminders to share documents and related material is one of the most tedious tasks of HR processes. This gets even more complicated with remote work, as you cannot just walk up to the desk to get it done!
The best way to tackle this challenge is to analyze the documentation requirements, list them down so as to not miss out on anything, and create automated reminders that flood (not literally) the inbox till the job is done!
As you know, HR documents and contracts are critical for business functions, but so is the time of your teams as there is so much to be done. This is why you must invest in automation to take repetitive and administrative tasks off of their hands.
Automation helps improve the efficiency and effectiveness of processes when implemented correctly. It also contributes to process improvement and optimizing process outcomes. Hence, the first idea that you must take seriously to improve your HR processes is to explore automation use cases in your HR department.
HR systems, or Human Resource Management Systems (HRM's), could be your teams best friend. They simplify the process of your applications, attendance tracking, documentation, payroll updates, and performance appraisals.
But it defeats the purpose of having an HR system when the system is complicated and difficult to use. Most HR systems are often neglected given they are not the top priority for management goals. Hence, the maintenance and upgrade of HRMs take a back seat, and before you know it employees stop using the system and start communicating directly with HR teams causing the process to become even more unpredictable.
This is an ineffective use of time, efforts, and most importantly - the system.
So pull up your sleeves this year to dedicate time and efforts to simplify your HR system. Remove the unnecessary features and focus on improving the features that are most important, such as leave applications and document submissions. Understand the existing workflows of the system operations and redesign them to simplify the process.
Your system redesigning project should focus on one thing - your employees and your HR teams. They should be able to easily use all the important features in the system. Improving the user experience of your HR systems is one of the best ideas to improve HR processes as it will help save a lot of time for your business operations.
Capture the right data from the system and use the insights gained to make real business decisions on how to effectively use your HR system, mitigate risk, and improve the employee experience.
Collaboration tools have seen a sharp rise in usage since the pandemic crisis. As workforces moved remote, there was a critical need for an organization-wide tool that enables easy communication despite physical distance.
The next idea to improve the performance of your HR processes is to invest in such a collaboration tool. It helps your HR teams communicate better with employees. It also helps increase productivity with common features such as task management, due dates, checklists, comments, priority settings, and templatization.
Slack, Trello, Asana, and Clickup are some common examples of collaboration or project management tools. With easy-to-use dashboards and modest pricing, these tools are easy to onboard and train.
So use the idea of including collaboration tools to improve HR process efficiency and productivity in 2021. As you know, HR teams work on multiple projects and communicate with multiple teams at a time. It is time you simplify their lives by offering some help!
Remote work has uncovered some unique requirements from your employees that were never mentioned before. Right from a home office system to faster Wi-Fi connectivity, HR teams have dealt with many variants of employee requests.
As work-from-home is expected to continue, these requests will continue to grow. And instead of your HR teams having to guess them, it is better to ask them directly.
As your next step to improve HR processes, run monthly surveys within the organization to understand the challenges and requirements of your employees. Use it as an opportunity to directly connect with your employees and offer solutions to their challenges and needs.
Your HR processes have gone through a whirlwind of changes in the last year or so, and now it is time to document the new process workflows.
Assign a due date for your HR team to analyze the new way your HR processes are functioning. Based on the analysis, identify the most optimal and efficient method of your process to standardize it for future use. Then document this updated process and share it with responsible teams. Store your process documentation an accessible place for anyone on your HR team to view easily.
For example, you have updated your recruitment process for remote hiring. Although the essence of the process remains the same, some changes need to be documented. Such as, couriering the employee onboarding kit to the new hire, which was earlier given to the new team member on their first day at work.
Such detailed documentation helps standardize the new process and ensures important steps in the process are not missed.
Remember to periodically training your team members on the process documentation to increase the chances of the process being executed as desired. Overtime, team members may wonder off the beaten path, if you fail to check in from time to time.
A dynamic and robust business process is the one that adapts to changing and challenging circumstances. Put these ideas for HR process improvement into action to see real results in 2021.
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